Ludgershall

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

No names known for 1510-15

Elections

DateCandidate
1523?HENRY BRYDGES 1
 ?RICHARD BRYDGES 2
1529HENRY BRYDGES
 RICHARD BRYDGES
1536?HENRY BRYDGES 3
 ?RICHARD BRYDGES 4
1539(not known)
1542(not known)
1545JOHN KNIGHT I
 THOMAS HAWES
1547WILLIAM TURNER 5
 RALPH COCKERELL 6
1553 (Mar.)HUMPHREY CAVELL 7
 (not known)
1553 (Oct.)RICHARD BRYDGES
 EDMUND POWELL
1554 (Apr.)JOHN WINCHCOMBE
 EDMUND POWELL
1554 (Nov.)SIR JOHN PRICE 8
 ARTHUR ALLEN
1555JOHN STORY
 JOHN WINCHCOMBE
1558(SIR) RICHARD BRYDGES
 THOMAS MARTIN

Main Article

Ludgershall had been part of the royal demesne since the 12th century and first returned Members in 1295. No charter is known and it was probably self-governing by prescription, a bailiff being chosen annually at the manorial court leet. In November 1510 Henry Brydges, a gentleman usher of the chamber, was granted custody of the manor, town and park, as previously held by Sir John Langford, for 30 years at an annual rent of £15 and after his death his only son Richard Brydges received a further grant in November 1539 for 40 years at the same rent. At the beginning of the reign of Edward VI the lordship of Ludgershall was granted in reversion to the Protector Somerset and in June 1553 it passed to Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, and Edmund Downing, who made an immediate conveyance to William Allen of Calne. Allen held Ludgershall for two or three years before selling to Richard Taverner from whom in 1557-8 Sir Richard Brydges acquired it by fine.9

In April 1539 John Kingsmill described Ludgershall as being in the rule of Richard Brydges, ‘whose father and he in his life were ever burgesses there’. Brydges’s continuing influence is borne out by the pattern of Membership and by election indentures which survive for the Parliament of 1545, the five Marian Parliaments and the by-election of 19 Nov. 1554, all in Latin except for that of 1558. In 1545 the contracting parties are the sheriff of Wiltshire and the bailiff (unnamed) and burgesses; in September 1553 the sheriff and Richard Brydges as bailiff; in March 1554 the sheriff, Brydges and six named burgesses including Richard Cheke or Chyecke, who as bailiff is the second party, with the burgesses, in the following October; and in 1555 Brydges, described as the farmer of the borough, with the burgesses and community and the sheriff. The indentures for the by-election and the Parliament of 1558 are damaged but Brydges signed the first of them as he did the two Marian indentures.10

Of the 13 known Members, as many as ten were probably indebted to Brydges’s patronage, including the two lessees themselves. Only in the reign of Edward VI are other influences clearly at work, William Turner and Ralph Cockerell being presumably beholden to Somerset, and Humphrey Cavell to Bedford. Cavell was also returned for Bossiney but chose to sit for Ludgershall, whereas in the autumn of 1554 Anthony Browne II, returned for Maldon and Ludgershall, preferred Maldon and was replaced at Ludgershall by Sir John Price. Sir Richard Brydges himself died during Mary’s last Parliament but no evidence has been found of a by-election to fill the vacancy. When Brydges was returned as one of the knights for Berkshire in 1539 John Kingsmill approached Thomas Wriothesley for a place for himself at Ludgershall, and perhaps also for John Dale, a Gray’s Inn lawyer with a home some three miles away at South Tidworth.11

Author: S. R. Johnson

Notes

  • 1. LP Hen. VIII, xiv(1), 662.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Hatfield 207.